A Message from our Board
A call for unity
Luiz Seabra, Guilherme Leal, Pedro Passos, and Roberto Marques, on behalf of the Board
We felt certain 2020 would be a milestone year for Natura &Co long before it arrived. In early January, we celebrated as we welcomed Avon into our group. Like the rest of the world, we were blissfully unaware of what lay ahead. COVID-19 caused disruption on a scale none of us had ever experienced. Countries, communities, corporations, and families have had to redefine their lives and to find ways to adapt to the pandemic.
The COVID-19 tragedy exposed the deep inequalities that exist in our society, laying bare the challenges faced by mankind – be they sanitary, social, ethnic or climatic in origin. Against the backdrop of this unprecedented volatility in the world, Natura &Co was in the midst of progressing its internationalization. With the arrival of Avon, we had expanded our presence and entered new geographies, and we ensured continuity for millions of consultants and representatives, thousands of stores and operations over multiple digital platforms. In the context of the pandemic, our greater global presence immediately led us to the conclusion that we could – and should – do even more for the world.
With courage, determination, resilience, and agility, our network of associates, storecolleagues , consultants and representatives, suppliers, communities and consumers demonstrated their creativity and energy in tackling the challenges presented by the pandemic, further underscoring the power of the “&” and the “Co” in our name, which have also come to constitute our essence. To everyone in our network, we offer our most sincere thanks for the dedication with which they balanced their lives and their work.
Given the unpredictable circumstances, it was essential that we prioritize our network. It was “Time to Care” for ourselves and for each other. One of the key symbols of this choice was a decision taken by the Group Operating Committee at the height of the uncertainty caused by the pandemic illustrates what this means. The group invited employees to pledge part of their pay on a voluntary basis, to help tackle the crisis and ensure continuity of the group’s activities. Thanks to Natura &Co’s impressive financial results, we returned the donations made during this period, at the end of 2020.
These results were due, in part, to the rapid adoption of digital technologies across all of our businesses in 2020, reflecting the success of our strategic investments in recent years.
Extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures, and the group’s spirit of unity has demonstrated that we are on the right path to address other global challenges, especially those related to caring for life, for the planet. The Commitment to Life 2030 Sustainability Vision represents a landmark in this respect.
We looked to the future and created an action plan for immediate execution. Collectively, Avon, Natura, The Body Shop, and Aesop have assumed ambitious targets for the next ten years, with a critical call to action to address challenges such as global warming, the loss of biodiversity, particularly in the Amazon, and social inequality. In parallel, we will continue to advance in the development of alternatives in regeneration and circularity, in new formulas and packaging.
We will ensure that the lessons, the losses and the challenges of 2020 will not have been in vain. We are conscious that we need to enhance our corporate practices and be agents of dialogue and cooperation, seeking partnerships that generate positive transformations for the world. The year brought irreparable damages but ended with some signs that we may expect positive transformations. We have seen that denialism, which has been so harmful for public health policies, is starting to lose steam in the world. The development of effective and safe vaccines in record-breaking time—often employing revolutionary technologies—yet again demonstrates just how capable science is of saving millions of lives.
This year made clear, in a painful, unequivocal manner, that the destiny of nations is interconnected. We are seeing hopeful signs emerge that isolationism is on the retreat, and that with political changes, space is created to reinforce multilateralism among major world players.
When the current crisis is over, the challenges will remain. Climate change threatens even greater and more devastating impacts for all forms of life on Earth. Protecting the conditions that sustain life on the planet must become a mission for us all, just as the struggle against the coronavirus has been. It must be an international effort uniting governments, private sector, academia, and civil society. It is time to unite science and traditional knowledge. We will fight even more for the protection of the most vulnerable. If there is one way of healing the scars left by 2020, it is understanding that our destiny is collective and that building a better future depends on our ability to unite and to advance in the same direction. After all, there are no limits for human cooperation.
A Message from our CEOs MESSAGE FROM OUR CEOs
Doing the right thing
Angela Cretu (Avon), David Boynton (The Body Shop), João Paulo Ferreira (Natura &Co Latin America), and Michael O’Keeffe (Aesop)
In January 2020, we celebrated the historic arrival of Avon in the Natura &Co family, by embarking on a tour of some of our offices in New York, London and São Paulo. It was a memorable week during which the energy and the excitement of our employees at this major step taken by the group was palpable.
Little did we know that it would also be one of the last times that we personally met that year. In the following months, our lives, businesses, and our way of working were to change drastically. However, even in the face of a global pandemic caused by COVID-19, we remained steadfast in our commitment to generate positive impact. Putting people first was a decision coherent with our history, which reinforced our values and beliefs.
The lessons learned from our operations in Asia, where COVID-19 was first identified, contributed to faster decision making in Latin America, showcasing the collaborative nature of our businesses. On an autonomous but interdependent basis, we found the means to protect our network, manage the contagion and keep business going.
Our initial priority was focused on the production of essential items, ensuring the supply of vital products in the fight against the virus. We began manufacturing and distributing hand sanitizers and soaps in record time and pledged to safeguard the jobs of our employees. We partnered with private and public institutions, communities and suppliers to ensure that donations reached those most in need. We also supported our communities by responding to the surge in domestic violence witnessed across the world during the pandemic, coming together to create the #IsolatedNotAlone campaign.
We accelerated the digitalization of our businesses, helping to ensure that our consultants, representatives and store colleagues could continue to work, amid lockdowns. With heavy investment in the further expansion of our e-commerce infrastructure, our digital sales saw triple digit growth, despite store closures.
The digitalization process at Natura, which had been ongoing for a number of years, facilitated the creation of digital tools, boosting the use of these resources by consultants. Avon’s representatives also benefited from digital brochures and new apps, reinforcing its transformation and the revitalization of its commercial model. This resulted in a significant increase in approval and loyalty rates amongst our independent entrepreneurs, as well as positive results for our business.
The Body Shop launched its new website, as part of its brand rejuvenation strategy, attracting new customers and driving sales close to to £150 million. The expansion of its digital channels was followed by the advances in its direct selling model, The Body Shop At Home, which saw significant growth in the United Kingdom and Australia, as well as successfully launching in the United States.
Aesop continued to deliver stellar growth despite store closures, leveraged by its agile redirection of the customer experiences delivered across its online channels. Asian markets also delivered strong performance for Aesop, particularly in Japan, one of the most important beauty markets in the world, showing growing recognition of the brand’s unique value proposition.
The integration of the four businesses in Latin America progressed and has demonstrated even greater potential for synergies. COVID-19 accelerated this integration, with advances in the optimization of manufacturing and distribution, for example. However, the synergies go way beyond the region. The Body Shop started producing its Body Butters in the Avon plant in Poland, increasing product quality and speed of delivery. Natura maintains its internationalization plans with support from The Body Shop and Avon operations, while Aesop has enormous potential to spearhead new markets and formats, which may later be replicated in the group’s other businesses.
Amidst the many challenges faced during 2020, we did not lose sight of our capacity to use our joint strength to promote a positive impact on people’s lives. Natura &Co’s sustainability vision, Commitment to Life, will require innovation, knowledge sharing and systemic behavior change. In this regard, we have already made important strides. Natura &Co officially became the largest B Corp in the world at the beginning of 2021 and Natura achieved its second recertification in 2020. Following The Body Shop certification in 2019, Aesop was certified a B Corp in 2020 and Avon has begun its journey to become a B Corp by 2025.
Even in a year of great human loss, our businesses called upon our founding principles in search of resilience, with our people and the planet as our first commitment. Our network of employees and store colleagues, guided by the same values and driven by unparalleled passion, were essential in achievieng these results. To them, we are deeply grateful. Together, we believe we are setting the foundations of a new cycle of prosperity, towards a capitalism better suited for the 21st century.